Noosa Festival of Surfing: Fins-Free Works!
It worked! A new pro division has been added to the competitive surfing world. Twenty four contestants battled it out to decide the first pro champ at Noosa’s First Point. Although, the surf was not spectacular, the surfing was. The first heats had fast peeling waves and the wood alaia riders had an advantage with the faster boards. As the day progressed, the tide filled in, the waves fattened up, and the foam boards became a better option. Christian Wach took out the competition on his 5’ 3” Seaglass Tuna while yours truly took second on an experimental soft version of the Tuna.
This contest proved that the finless division is relevant. There was a contest criterion that the judges and the surfers discussed, and the division between finned and finless boards became very clear. Some people wanted the finless division to include only wooden alaias – thereby excluding the foam version.
As much as I LOVE wood alaias, it would be very difficult to make a contestable division – exclusively. They require hyper-specific parameters as far as conditions go. For example, Harrison Roach on the alaia was the favorite for sure, but after numerous heats on the wood and then softer waves in the final, he lost his edge. The foam boards ride a much wider range of surf, and by combining the wood and foam boards, you can plan a finless event and be much more secure about it succeeding.
Another important point is that the Seaglass Tuna we developed rides really well. It competed with the wood on pretty equal footing and Christian ended up taking the title with one beneath his feet. Granted, I’m biased, but this is important because there is now a standard finless surfboard that is readily available all over the world. Anyone interested in trying finless surfing or putting on a finless event can easily get quality boards.
The day was a fantasy for me as I got to watch top surfers ride all sorts of finless boards. I probably learned more about finless boards during this day than I had in several months. The beauty of the contest is that it brings top finless riders to one place at one time. We created an environment to share thoughts on design and style that is otherwise hard to achieve. This year’s Noosa Festival was a nine day celebration of surfing and the surfing lifestyle. The contest divisions are the glue that holds it all together.
Christian Wach won a new Seaglass tuna as part of the prize. He intends to sell the board and donate the money to the Japanese surfing appeal.